Nine long and scary months:
Pregnancy can be the most wonderful experience filled with excitement, joy and happiness. There are an entire range of emotions that you will feel while your body is growing your little bub. Unfortunately for many women who experience a high risk pregnancy, they will experience enhanced anxiety, stress and fear. For some women, pregnancy is hard. It does not involve cute Instagram gender reveals or perfectly curated baby showers.
If your obstetrician or medical care provider has classified your pregnancy as high risk, what do you do? How do you cope and manage? This is a question I asked myself while trying to survive the exceptionally long 9 months of a high risk pregnancy with my daughter, after losing my son who was born sleeping.
Everybody is different and will find certain strategies to help them get by. I am a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist so I am not a Psychologist. However, I would like to share some tools that personally helped me during my high risk pregnancy journey.
My top tips:
Keep mindfully occupied.
I purchased about 20 novels, and I forced myself to read a chapter per day, regardless of whether I was absorbing the content. Most of the time I would read, but my mind would be elsewhere. However, eventually my mind would return to the words on the page, and I would get immersed in the story.
Pilates and yoga are great forms of exercise to do while you are pregnant. I found it helpful to join a class online (as we were in lockdown at the time). I would have found it even more enjoyable getting out of the house and coming into the clinic for a class.
Keeping yourself healthy.
As mentioned above, exercising safely and nourishing your body with healthy food is particularly important. It helps you feel good, and it helps to support your body to be strong while you are growing your bub. If you are experiencing any pain, please book an appointment to see your Physiotherapist. Ensure you are doing your pelvic floor exercises and book in for a pelvic floor assessment to obtain an appropriate pelvic floor exercise program.
Listening to podcasts or music whilst getting outdoors.
Make sure the podcast is not pregnancy-related. Download podcasts about anything other than pregnancy. I listened to beauty and skincare podcasts but also you could listen to crime, business/finance or health-related ones.
Affirmations and meditation.
I am not one to meditate, but I did take 60 seconds after my yoga or Pilates session to close my eyes, try to relax my body and imagine myself bringing a healthy and safe baby home. I would envision myself holding her or taking her for walks. It was like I was trying to manifest my end goal.
- Talk to a specialised antenatal psychologist or counsellor. And keep talking to your friends and family who you feel comfortable to share your emotions with. Try not to bottle it in. And of course, share your feelings/concerns with your obstetrician or medical care provider (see below).
- Call your obstetrician, medical care provider or hospital. If you are concerned at ANY point of your pregnancy, please give your medical care team or hospital a call. They may ask you to come in for some monitoring which will end up be incredibly reassuring for you. Do not ever feel bad or guilty for making this phone call. This is their job, and they expect these phone calls from every single pregnant woman and even more so from the women experiencing high risk pregnancies.
- Connect with others who have experienced (or are experiencing) a high risk pregnancy too, even if it is a friend of a friend of a friend!
- Share your feelings with your friends/family. Sometimes asking them to distract you from your pregnancy can help and other times, you may want to focus your conversation on it.
Do not look too far ahead, take each week, day or hour as it comes, to decrease your anxiety. I would set a goal to just get to the next week. However, sometimes I would feel that would seem unobtainable, so I would set a goal to make it through the next day. I would give myself a pat on the back for every time I would achieve that goal.
Please know you are not alone – there are amazing resources that can help support you in addition to your friends/family and medical care providers. Have a look at the following websites:
Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Other related PMPP blogs: